Plaque psoriasis is the most commonly occurring form of psoriasis.
It is characterized by inflamed patches of red and silvery skin that flakes, itches, causes pain and is quite unsightly.
Plaque psoriasis is the form of psoriasis that comes to mind most readily when the disease is mentioned.
While the plaques can be found anywhere on the body as in very severe cases, the most common locations are the backs of joints such as the elbows and knees. Up to 50% of psoriasis sufferers also suffer from scalp psoriasis which affects the scalp and may reach to the ears, neck and face.
This type of psoriasis occurs equally in men and women and can occur at any age, the two peak ages being the late teens and the late 50′s. Certain hereditary factors mediate the potential development of plaque psoriasis but environmental factors such as sunlight exposure, smoking, alcoholism and preexisting immune conditions may play a role.
This form of psoriasis ranges in severity from almost asymptomatic to mild to extremely severe. Since this is a chronic condition, it never goes away completely but rather recurs cyclically. Flare-ups can last several weeks, even months.
Plaque psoriasis can be diagnosed by visual inspection by a doctor or dermatologist.
The characteristic scaly plaques obviate the disease.
Treatment of this form of psoriasis depends greatly upon the severity of the condition. Milder cases can often be managed with the use of topical creams and ointments and, in the case of scalp psoriasis sufferers, shampoos and oils.
Moderate and severe cases often necessitate stricter adherence to a set of psoriasis diet and exercise guidelines and the use of stronger medications. Psoriasis treatment in these more advanced cases may entail the use of strong topical medications, phototherapy (light therapy), systemic (body-wide) treatments and injections.
Topical applications may include anything ranging from moisturizers to salicylic acid to corticosteroids. Topical medications are best utilized in the treatment of particularly stubborn plaques and patches.
Treatment of this psoriasis with light therapy involves exposure to either natural sunlight or controlled amounts of specific wavelengths of artificially produced light. These therapies can work well but carry possible complications such as scarring, blistering and increased risk of skin cancer.
Systemic treatments include potent immunosuppressant drugs that carry serious side effects and so are typically reserved for very sever and recalcitrant cases of plaque psoriasis.
Lastly, since plaque psoriasis is a chronic condition, it is wise to take measures to mitigate inflammatory response and increase overall health by means of a proper diet, intelligent supplementation regimen, regular exercise and a low stress lifestyle.